tv [untitled] July 14, 2011 4:30pm-5:00pm PDT
my name is kim regan and i live in cal ho low. i want to enthusiastically support this project. i was somewhat amazed to hear so many of my neighbors think that this would be awful. so i've looked into it. i've gone to meatings. i've been emailed, received stuff in the mail, hard snail mail, and all of it has convinced me that there is nothing better we need to do as a community for people who need us. i provided these kinds of supportive spferses for my children. we need to take care of the children who have been left in our care. this is a perfect example. if not here, where? if not now, when? thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. my name is robert bardell, president of the golden gate valley neighborhood association. i just dropped in here late. i was kinds of hoping the hearing would be over.
i'm sure you would, too. [laughter] anyway, i just wants to say that golden gate valley neighborhood association is the only neighborhood group on the whole north end that i know of that supports this project wholeheartedly. we understand that there are some concerns, and i think that through a citizens advisory committee attached to this project in some way we can smooth out some operational issues which might make everybody feel a lot better. but i think that our neighborhood is a good neighborhood to have this sort of housing. it doesn't have the distractions and the dangers of the tender loin, which i just walked through on my way here. and there are plenty of other neighborhoods which are more crime-ridden and have fewer people who are actually giving good examples of what it's like to be a functional adult. and i hope that that is what we're trying to teach these people, and that they will transition into becoming useful and productive citizens. thank you very much. >> thank you. president olague: is there any additional public comment at this time? if so, just come up to the mic.
>> my name is alexander cotton. i'm here speaking on behalf of the league of young voters, and i, on behalf of them, would like to ask you to approve the s.u.d. i would like to make the connection between this administrative matter, the approval of the special-use district with the larger struggle to maintain the social safetyness of our city and our country. though these units -- though this one project may seem small, it's a strand in a larger rope, which is part of a larger social safety net, and all of the strands of that net reinforce each other. it's often an invisible net. there was just a national survey completed which showed that almost half of americans who are beneficiaries of government social programs believe, in fact, that they have never been the beneficiary of a government social program. so the fact that that net is invisible might remind you that you yourself, at some point,
have taken advantage of some aspect of our social safety net. all of us do at some point in our lives, or we are close to someone who has. so our personal network is buoyed up by that social safety net and supported by it. so you may feel, commissioners, that your decision this afternoon is a decision about other people's needs. but in fact, i would ask you to remember that that safety net supports us all, and by approving this project you can help keep that safety net whole. thank you. president olague: thank you. >> i had not planned to speak. i'd ask you to either table this s.u.d. discussion or deny it entirely, because for all the accolades i heard about larkin street and the organization, i didn't hear one thing about their plans to make -- if they have the 24 units, to provide whatever quality services they were going to provide.
nobody talked about what they're going to do when it's raining. when you have 24 or 48 kids there, what they're going to do. we didn't hear one plan for how they're going to deal with this. we only heard about how wonderful the organizations are. so this really isn't about transitional housing, it's supposed to be about the special-use district. and i didn't hear a reason why that should be approved, other than money. and it's because they can't afford the 16 units. they need 24 to make it work financially, and that should not be the reason for approving this additional units when in fact we didn't hear any program in place. and i heard one of the lawyers ask for some rules to be suggested, but i didn't hear anything from larkin street or the other organization about what they would do to make sure that there were plans and programs in place to make sure that these youth were taken care of. because at 10:00 at night, if there's no open space and no space within the facility, can they go to the presidio? where are they going to go?
nobody's talked about that. >> thank you. >> hi. my name is orlon rayall and i'm taken nant add one of the community partnership buildings. i want to testify as to what c.h.p. does and what their buildings are, because i'm hearing a lot of fear of can c.h.p. handle these kids, can larkin street back up what they say they can do. i live in the san kristina in the middle of the tenderloin. one of the benefits of my building is how safe it is, because they do have management. we have tenant services, which come together and bring everybody together to form a community. and we get to meet our neighbors. we go and we have -- in our community kitchens they'll make meals where we can all come together as a community and meet each other. and it's one of the safest places actually in the tenderloin are the buildings that c.h.p. manages. if you go and check out
residential hotels and then you go into a building that's managed by c.h.p., you notice an immediate difference with the visitor policies. every visitor is accounted for. you don't have strangers wandering around the halls. you don't have tenant-on-tenant crimes like you do in the other hotels. i want to alleviate some fears that c.h.p. and larkin street can back up what they say they can do. they can help keep the neighborhood safe and actually help improve the neighborhood by increasing diversity and giving people who don't normally have access to these nice grocery stores or the marina district, giving them a chance to live in that neighborhood and helping sort of increase the diversity and helping everybody in the end. thank you. president olague: thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i'm a field representative with carpet enters local 22. i'd like to go on record saying that the carpenters local 22 do support this project. myself, what i'm hearing today
-- and i don't want to think this way, but i'm hearing a little bit of we would support this project if it was 16 units. we would support it if it was 24 anywhere else in the city. but if it's in my neighborhood, i am not comfortable with it. i could be wrong on that, but i just want to go on record and say that i think this is a good project. it's good for local 22. it's good for residents, it's good for the fact that they're helping people, and i think all around it's a good project. i can't help thinking about fajita gate. i don't think any fajitas are going to be stolen if this project goes in cal hollow or the marina. as far as crime goes, i mean, i don't think that's a factor.
i think this project helps folks, and this is a way to help the community come together. thank you. >> members of the commission, my name is steven cook. i am a former board member of larkin street, but i'm also a resident of the cal hollow area. larkin street operates over 10 residential sites throughout the city, and i believe that those operations and sites are considered to be good neighbors in each of their neighborhoods. i believe that the edward hotel operation will be a good neighbor to our neighborhood. i urge you to support this project. thank you. president olague: thank you. is there any additional public comment on this item?
>> i don't know if she's coming up or -- no. president olague: seeing none, public comment is closed. i would like to at this time acknowledge the mayor's office on housing. usually we acknowledge you with a staff presentation. so if you'd like to come up at this time and address us with some issues, that would be fine. usually you don't have to put it on a speaker card. we recognize you as part of the staff. >> well tharnings you very much for the invitation. i'm lydia with the mayor's office of housing. i want to talk about finances, and i don't want to get too long-winded or boring, but i do want to address three points. back in 2009, when we issued the notice of funding availability for the housing projects and we were guided in doing so by the work of the transition youth task force, which worked across the city for several years and came up with a housing plan. so that guided our notice for
funding availability. we knew already that our funds were rapidly diminishing at the mayor's office of housing. so one thing we did which was new to us at the time was to award points in a category to projects that could leverage a lot of other money. in other words, projects that could bring other funds to the table and diminish the amount of money that m.o. had to put into the project. this project that you're considering today came to us proposing a temporary loan, which we have granted, $4.4 million for the acquisition. the proposal was to pay that back in its entirety by the end of the project using other sources. this was a really good deal for us and the financing has changed now because of decisions that we made at m.o., moving one of their proposed sources to another m.o. project, we now propose to have $900,000 in the deal, which is only $36,000 per unit in city
subsidy. so this is the lowest subsidy per unit that i've ever seen. it's not to say that it's not an expensive project. it is. but i just want to make it clear that we did make it a priority to fund projects that were able to bring other resources to the table and make our funds available for other projects. so the notice that we put out was for $2 million, and we ended up funding three projects. partially because this project came in showing the ability to give us our money back at the end. so even though we gave in project $4.4 million, we also gave money to two other projects, the hotel, which is 40 units of housing for young adults with severe mental health problems, and we're also doing the booker t. washington project, which you all are very familiar with. we have two other projects that did not come to us for funding through that notice that we're also funding. so that's kind of the general
context. so in terms of the costs, yes, it's an expensive project. small buildings are always more expensive. there are a lot of fixed costs when you buy a building that do not move, whether you have 100 units or 20 units. so we recognize that, but we were guided by the work of the transition youth task force which told us that big projects don't really work for this population. so we really did intend to support projects that were smaller and more suitable for young adults. the proposal that's been put forth today to reduce the number of units would make this expensive project more expensive in a number of ways. and without boring you too much, i'll just explain a couple of aspects of that. first of all, they've already secured about $4 million in funding from the state. for this project. which is great. they're a very competitive
program that's now basically going away. so this was an opportunity of a lifetime for them. they brought the money in. that funding will be reduced if they reduce units. we'll lose about $1s.5 million of that. we may lose it all, because there may be a threshold under their new regulation that is we can't meet. we will also lose what you've heard discussion of, the tax credit equity program, the low-income tax credit. we will get less money from that program if the number of units is reduced, and we will have to make up the gap ourselves with city money that we don't have budgeted for that purpose. lastly, to say that it doesn't cost us anything to go from 24 to 16 units kind of ignores the opportunity costs that we would be passing -- that we would be taking on. so in other words, if you reckon that we spend about $200,000 to $400,000 per unit
at m.o. to subsidize production, if we lose those eight units, we're losing $2.5 to $4 million basically that we will have to come up with to make those eight units happen elsewhere. so i know it's kind of virtual math, but to us it's very real. we want to create as many affordable housing units for low-income people as possible, and going from 24 units to 16 does indeed carry a cost both practical and philosophical. president olague: thank you. and we may have more questions as we deliberate up here. commissioner antonini. commissioner antonini: well, thank you. i think this is a good concept, wrong site. i think it's kind of, unfortunately, maybe a microcosm of what's happening in san francisco and one of the reasons we have budgetary problems is because we don't invest our funds wisely. it was really shocking to see that the condos across the street were built for $285 per
square foot, and this is taking $1,120 per square foot. now, of course, when you take an older structure and you have to retrofit it, it's more expensive. we all realize that. so perhaps we should find a site that we can demo a building and build new, and it would be less expensive, like perhaps the bridge hotel across the street, which would be great and would have solved a lot of problems. so this is kind of something that i hope -- maybe it explains some of our budgetary problems. we have the use the funds more efficiently. instead of building 25 units for 25 challenged individuals, we can build 100, because it sounds like it's costing us about four times what it costs to build a really nice condo unit. incidentally, the people who work there, some of them are my patients. they got paid a real good wage. so the fact that as one of the things you're saying that
you're not paying hive enough wages on some of these market-rate project, most of them are getting real fine wages. so i don't think that's an argument. there was different comments about the amount of neighborhood outreach. most people i've talked to said there wasn't enough. a couple of people said there was. i'm not sure about that. my office is about a mile away from the site. i didn't receive anything there, but that doesn't -- i'm beyond a zone where i would normally get it anyway. and there was some -- it appears that this whole thing was begun before neighborhood outreach was done. there have been some allegations that there was some kind of a deal run between the previous ocean of this -- owner of this bed-and-breakfast who didn't manage it efficiently and was being helped out because he got in trouble. i'm not sure if that's true or not, but we can't be spending public funds that way. if that is the case, i'd like to know more about that.
and all the other things that were brought up are problems. i think the concept is a really good one. but looking at this site, i think it has a lot of challenges. not having any outdoor space and having a situation where, of course, you can't control an individual room, you can't make it smoke-free, i guess you can't make it alcohol-free. i suppose you can't even make it drug-free, i'm not sure. that's a little troubling. you know, i guess there is some -- it was said that the residents are going to have to pay, so i'm sure that sponsors will help them to have work or some way to have an income, too, because you can't expect them to pay if they don't have any income. so i would assume that's being taken care of. but, you know, what they're doing with the s.u.d. is they're bringing it down to 143 square feet per unit. that is the size of the footprint, with rooms that are going to be a little over 200 square feet apiece, which is
pretty small. i think that's a problem. and, of course, the other issue that's been brought up a lot is the crime at the adjacent motels and some of the motels along there. while relatively speaking the crime situation in the marina is much better than other parts of the city, so that part's good. but you've really got to look at that situation and do something about it. if this does get passed, then it's very important that in conjunction with that we go in and try to make sure that existing problems are cleaned up along that part of lombard, which the neighbors have been trying to do for a long time. i also am not real happy about the fact that the s.u.d. is sponsored by four supervisors, maybe five. does not include the district supervisor, who has his questions about this and has sent us a letter not in support of it. so that seems a little strange. and the other thing that i think is a little different
than 800 presidio, it appears that we're going to have a blend of emancipated youth who are coming out of foster home and previously homeless youth. and i'm not sure if there's a compatibility there, because there are different circumstances, a little bit. and that's something that i think we really have to look at. is that the best group to combine in these very tight quarters that are being built? i know that questions were brought up about s.f. residents, giving preference. but you legally can't do that, i understand. so you have to take whoever comes. i guess there will be some scort of screening mechanism. i'm not exactly sure how you're going to do that. so what i think is you really have to look at this on a national basis, because we apparently have almost 1,600 homeless youth in san francisco, from what i'm hearing. and we know that for a variety of reasons we are a magnet for this situation, and some of these reasons are really understandable, but i think that we have to share the
responsibility with other counties, the whole state, the country, to work out solutions that are more broad--based than trying to balance all the problems by san francisco alone. i think that's another reason we have budgetary problems is we don't do things regionally or nationally, we're trying to do them individually. i was very interested that there was someone from the affordable community from suburban areas. i'd like to talk to her about working things out, so we could develop some kind of center that would be comprehensive and really have a place that was really, really good and not trying to use whatever we could use and often is expensive and doesn't result in the best situation. the one thing you are doing here, and i am entirely in favor of, and i think almost everyone who spoke today, even those against it, is you are trying to put this housing in a neighborhood that is less challenged and spread it out. because i've always said it's terrible when you take the most challenged people and put them in the post possible places,
where they're faced with things like the tender loin where there are people that prey on them. so the concept of using the marina and others is a good one, the site just isn't a good one, so that's why i'm opposed to it. president olague: commissioner miguel. commissioner miguel: i want to go back, if our memories can stretch far enough back to the beginning of this item on the agenda, because i was struck by something that reverend fong said. it reminded me of a situation of about 15 years ago when i was president of a neighborhood association in the richmond district, and the city and catholic charities were attempting to take over a former -- what should i say? -- rest home is the best way to put it on geary boulevard near 27th avenue. to make it short, 22 meetings later, four of which the police had to be called because of the
raucousness of the meetings, opposition by all of the immediate residents and all of the relators in the area -- it passed. it started. it was for family homeless one-year minimum residency, which basically was women and children, with services. and i was on the advisory group for about a year, and we actually disbanded. there was no need for us anymore. it's still out there. no one even knows it exists. it blends with the neighborhood. and the neighborhood has done what it should. it put this type of thing in a good san francisco middle-class neighborhood. i've had the pleasure of raising kids and grandkids, and they live up to your expectations. and i hope that the people in
the marina and the cal hollow areas will have expectations of the highest kind for the youth that will inhabit it, if we pass it -- and i hope to, i'm definitely for it -- who will inhabit the edward ii. if you have those type of expectations and you work with them, it will happen. as far as open space, you've got the presidio, one of the finest -- and the green, for that matter. but the presidio is certainly one of the finest open spaces there are. i have not worked with the community housing partnership. i know of them only by reputation. i have had the pleasure from time to time of working with larkin street. there has been call for a laundry list, actually, of exactly what they're going to do. you know, if i had that list in
front of me, i wouldn't know what to do with it, because i am not an expert, any more than the majority of people who spoke in this area. they are. and i have to trust their experience and their reputation to put together the proper programs that will make this a success. the last thing i have to say, which i really dislike saying, but i did read all the letters, and i did read all the emails. and there is a large number of them from the marina and from cal hollow that i can describe only as blatant, elitism nimyism, and that discourages me as to my fellow san francisco citizens. president olague: commissioner moore. commissioner moore: following up on a very strong statement
by commissioner miguel, i'd like to say that i couldn't see a more appropriate building than retrofitting an existing been, which is very modest and very appropriate to its circumstance, as a housing unit for youth who come out of foster homes. i have a hard time using the word "youth at risk." i think these are youth who are being given a chance, and i'd like to turn the discussion around. i think the youth at risk almost implies that they have already come out of whatever, out of some kind of a criminal supervision, and that is not the case. we are observing youth who are carefully guided at a time when parental guidance ceased. and that's all it is. but looking at young potential residents who are looking for a place to live under affordable
circumstances, and i do believe that the lar inn street facility is giving them that opportunity. back to the building at hand. i do not believe that a new building, the costs are skimmed and there's an attempt at making an appropriate building, where there is no such thing is, i think, best accommodated in a re-use. i this i that follows our green policies, and that costs are written up have partially to do with the fact that we need to provide accessibility of an elevator, which is very difficult to do in an exists building which previously didn't have that. so we're talking about apples and apples, and i do not believe that can be discussed here unless the architect can give us a clear cost-by-cost breakdown of where some of the slightly higher costs are, and i don't think it's in doing something extraordinary or luxurious. it's a well designed, very well-conceived building. when i started as a young professional, i lived in a small unit just about the size
of this. it was fine. that's really all i could afford at that time. it was about $400 or something like that. that's a few years ago. but it was in san francisco. it was indeed at lower commob hill. it was -- nob hill, and i made do with what i had. i was happy to be within walking distance of an urban neighborhood which i could associate with, i could go to stores, walk downtowns, go to the marina or bicycle or whatever, but i fit in for what i could afford at that time at that time in my life. moving on, i do think that there were many, many people who made very, very eloquent statements about why i think this project is necessary and one which struck me as, sitting here on this commission, i observed week by week that we're encountering an ever larger gap in housing. and you said you would be very well aware of it, because each week we have to make extremely difficult decisions, some of
which are highly theoretical and some of which are, at least for some of us, seem to miss the point. and i don't want to be specific what i'm talking about. one person said this is not a perfect solution, but it's an excellent solution. it's for that very reason that i support the project, and for those neighbors in the that reena-cal hollow area, this commission has spent a lot of attention on particularly lombard street, and this commission has actively supported the slow transformation of lombard street. we help prevent intrusion of big box and inappropriate uses. we have supported housing. we have supported re-use and supported in whatever way we can uses which we felt were marginal or somewhat inappropriate to the changing demands in that corridor. the fact that it's a highway at this moment, there's little we can do. but we carefully watch how city
policy takes on the discussion with caltrans to make lombard street a more pedestrians-workable thoroughfare. president olague: commissioner sugaya. commissioner sugaya: my thoughts echo the two other commissioners that just spoke. i'm reminded that commissioner olague and i, last week, went to san francisco general to -- for a visit to their psychiatric emergency room. we had quite a briefing there. and then we also went up to the fourth floor, i believe it was, where we were briefed by the sheriffs -- commissioner moore: seventh. commissioner sugaya: was it seventh? by the sheriffs on their psychiatric ward that they maintain. and the interesting link, i think, to this is that in both cases the staff people said that the most important thing to them was not